Jews and Gentiles in Early America: 1654-1800

By Diner, Hasia R. | Shofar, Summer 2008 | Go to article overview

Jews and Gentiles in Early America: 1654-1800


Diner, Hasia R., Shofar


Jews and Gentiles in Early America: 1654-1800, by William Pencak. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2005. 321 pp. $29.95.

Jews and Gentiles in Early America fills an important gap in the scholarship on American Jewish history and the history of early America. It offers a community-by-community analysis of how Jews, a numerically insignificant but still visible element in the population, fit into the political and cultural world of America, from the years of the first settlement in the middle of the seventeenth century through the early national period, with the book ending in 1800. Pencak has organized his material, chapter by chapter, geographically, devoting his book to the five cities in which Jews lived in substantial enough numbers to have led them to create Jewish communal institutions. These five communities, whose Jews, their congregations, and their complex interactions with the vastly larger non-Jewish majority constitute the heart of Jews and Gentiles in Early America, New York, Newport, Rhode Island, Charleston, South Carolina, Savannah, Georgia and Philadelphia, all seaport cities, housed America's first Jewish communities.

For each community Pencak asks a series of questions. He wants to know how the local, non-Jewish population received the Jews who settled in their midst. Did they greet the Jews warmly or did they express antipathy towards the non-Christian newcomers? Where did anti-Jewish feelings come from, both in terms of historical origins and the social and economic strata of the local population? Why did the residents of some colonies provide a more hospitable environment than others and how did differing levels of welcome-or the lack thereof-leave its mark on the Jews?

Pencak turns his attention, as such, not just to the words and deeds of the Christian majority, expressed in print and in the actions of courts and legislatures, but to the Jews themselves. He seeks to explore how Jews navigated life in the colonies and in the new nation. To what degree did they play a role in the Revolution, and how did they inject themselves into the political life of the states which emerged from the former colonies? Pencak's questions go further, and in posing them he provides a useful service to historians. How did Jews respond to attacks on their character and their religion when negative images became part of the public discourse? What did Jews do to defend themselves, and what did their arguments reveal about their understanding of themselves and their place in America, from the middle of the seventeenth century to the onset of the nineteenth?

Each colony, then state, had its own history, and each history took its shape from the particular political, religious, and cultural characteristics that dominated the local scene. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Jews and Gentiles in Early America: 1654-1800
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.